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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Jul 22, 2022

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by Michael Cooper, Agile Thought’s Chief Architect.


In this episode, Dan and Mike explore the topic resulting from the previous conversation they had regarding technical debt, which is, once you identify the debt, what do you do about it? Michael presents three possible strategies: the most common, the undesired, and lastly, the pragmatic and practical solution.


Key Takeaways

  • In response to technical debt, the first thing you can do is nothing.
    • Not doing anything about technical debt is the path chosen by many people.
    • Doing nothing is a pragmatic approach, but only works if you are planning to do nothing with the product.
  • Often a complete replacement is the way chosen to respond to technical debt.
    • This could be considered a relatively undesirable strategy since it is an extremely risky approach.
    • What if the developers that wrote the code are dead? How can you know what was in the original product?
  • Coming up with a completely new product (not a duplication) could be a response to technical debt.
    • This is a safe alternative but depends on whether the stakeholders will accept it.
    • It should not be just a replacement strategy but a comprehensive innovative solution, a game-change strategy.
    • This strategy would cost about twice the budget.
  • The practical solution: Slowly strangling the product.
    • This is a long and pragmatic process, where you may decide to leave parts of the system.
    • This strategy will preserve the functionality of the system and produce the expected result over time.
  • What is the cost to change?
    • It is very difficult to anticipate the costs.
  • How do you train the Team to approach technical debt?
    • The Team makes the decision whether they are capable or not to take the task.


Mentioned in this Episode:

Listen to What is Technical Debt? With Michael Cooper


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